Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Or, create a simple website with information about your town or city, particularly if it's a popular destination for tourists. You'll be able to monetize the site by selling ads to local businesses, hotels, tourist spots, etc. Plus, you can monetize your site by including ads from Google Adsense, which is a quick and painless way to earn an income from your site right away.
If you're technologically insecure, then blog about your town or city instead. A blog like this one on blogger.com is free and easy to start. You can blog about local happenings in your home town, and even get guest blog posts from popular residents.
Writing about your locality is another way to make money writing.
Until next time...happy writing!
As a writer, you can easily do the research necessary to come up with some ideas for your own ebooks. Or, if you want to add some income by selling ebooks immediately, and without needing to do all the writing involved - then try a site like Clickbank. You can provide links to ebooks for sale on their site, and earn a percentage on each sale.
eBooks are just another way to add to your writing income!
Until next time...get writing!
Monday, October 17, 2011
How Blogs can Become Bestselling Books
Dozens, if not hundreds of successful blogs have become the tool writers use to get their work in front of editors at major publishing houses. It makes sense that editors and publishers will sit up and take notice if your blog is attracting huge attention from a devoted crowd - if they come back to read your blog everyday, it's not as big a risk for the publisher to take to publish your book.
The basis for many blogs just naturally lend themselves to becoming bestselling books. My website at www.happyslob.com helped me to land a book deal for my first book: "No Hassle Housecleaning", originally titled "The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning." Was it a bestseller? Not yet! (self deprecating laughter inserted here...) But, seeing my book in bookstores was an incredible and surreal moment, and continues to be. (My second book from the same publisher - F+W Publications - is called Living Large on Less. I get no less giddy seeing it at online and offline bookstores.)
How to Do It
Simply put, you need to put your best writing foot forward when you blog. Don't makes excuses like: "It's just a blog after all, who cares if it's really my best writing?" Express yourself and create your very own writing style. When I started my blog and site, it was because agents and publishers hadn't been interested in my book and I wanted to prove them wrong by selling my book as an ebook. That ebook was later purchased by an editor at F+W, and the rest is history. (Let me just acknowledge right now -- when her email arrived asking if I was still looking to publish my book traditionally, I had tears running down my face.)
Get blogging right away! Of course, you need some sort of catchy idea that people will come to read more and more about...and you need to create quality work that people will want to come back to read. The more readers you have who love your content, the more proof you have that your blog concept is really worthy of becoming a book.
- Yes, blogs really do become the basis for books!
- Blog writing represents you as a writer - so make your blog posts inspirational, funny, charming - whatever it is you want to be identified with as a writer. Develop your writing style within your blog.
- Popular blogs prove to editors and publishers that your content is popular, thus making it less of a risk for them to invest in creating a book out of your concept.
Writers: What would you most like to blog about? Do you think you could sell it as a book idea in the future?
Why do you realtors need your writing?
Realtors rely on marketing materials to sell homes. Without materials to inform potential clients of the homes for sale in the area, those homes will never get sold. With the recession in full force in many areas across North America, realtors need good copywriters now more than ever.
How can I get an assignment writing for a realtor?
It often just comes down to asking! If you know a real estate agent or realtor personally, ask if they or anyone in their company or office needs some copywriting completed. Ask specifically what type of copywritten materials they need. These could include newsletters (either online or offline versions), flyers with information on certain properties for sale, website content, blog posts, etc.
How much should I charge a realtor for marketing materials?
As with all copywriting, how much to charge a client can be a very tricky area. If you're an accomplished and experienced copywriter, then your rates will obviously be higher. But, if you're new to copywriting, it only makes sense to charge a little less. Sometimes you'll need to negotiate with the realtor - or any client - to find a price that they can afford, and that you can afford to settle for. (Remember -- a professional writer of any sort gets paid for their writing! Only accept freebie assignments if it'll mean huge exposure for other writing projects you have on the go, such as books or ebooks. As a general rule of thumb, though - you're doing legitimate writing work, and deserve legitimate pay.)
Writers: Have you written copy for realtors? Please post a comment and tell us about it!
A very interesting way to make money selling your words is to offer beautiful handmade cards featuring your poetry. Poets in general have a very hard time selling their poems, so trying something entirely new and different like this may be just the thing you need to increase your writing income.
You could also take orders to create romantic poems for anniversaries, etc. The sky is the limit! You could charge a base rate, and then ask for certain details which can then be incorporated into the poetry. For longer poems, the rate will of course increase.
Selling your poems in unusual ways such as at arts and crafts shows and fairs is just another way that your writing can bring home a paycheck for you. Get writing!
Many businesses use Google Adsense to draw customers to their websites, so sometimes the ads you'll need to create are very short. When ads are this short, it means that the words need to be utilized to their best effect: ie, these ads need to be punchy!
Contact some website owners with a brief email enquiring whether they need help creating ads. After only sending out a few emails, you may very well land yourself some new copywriting assignments that pay quickly!
If it's your goal to become a full-time copywriter, writing small ads for businesses is an excellent way to get started. They don't care if you have a lot of experience writing copy, they only care that your words draw people in and turn into sales. Prove that you can write copy that sells, and you'll have a regular client. And hey, that turns into a regular paycheck, which is something all of us writers dearly appreciate.
So, start scouring eBay (oh, darn! I hate when I have to do that...), and contact eBay sellers with the offer to write their auction pages for them. It's fun, and sometimes lucrative writing work for new and experienced freelance writers alike! And, it's just one more copywriting assignment to add to your ever growing list of paying assignments.
- Come up with 10 fairly broad subject areas. For instance: travel in Mexico, budget travel, cooking for beginners, frugal babycare ideas. Just some broad ideas that aren't overly broad, for instance - budget travel, not just 'travel.'
- For each of the 10 subjects, brainstorm 10 ideas that take the idea deeper. Let's take the budget travel idea and expand it. From budget travel, you could do: budget travel for backpackers, the Top 10 Budget Travel Sites Online, budget travel tips for seniors, budget travel tips for students, budget travel in Italy, etc, etc.
- If you expand each of your original ten article ideas like this, you'll have 100 article or blog posting ideas! Which, of course is plenty of material to work with, and often having nothing to write about is the greatest bane of a blogger or writer.
Happy writing, everyone! Now, get to it...get typing...
Friday, October 7, 2011
Writing website content should be considered just like writing professional content for offline publications such as newspapers and magazines. (I've done both of those things, and also plan to offer you advice on finding such assignments in another blog posting. We've got 997 more posts to go before we hit 1000, so I'm sure I'll have adequate space to write about such things!)
How to get your articles published on websites:
- Find the websites you'd like to be published on. Make a list of those sites that offer quality content, and that actually pay you for your articles and content.
- Find contact information for those sites, preferably the editors who are looking for such content.
- Send query letters to these editors. A good query letter should provide the: idea of the article, the 'hook' (why your article will be a great one that catches attention), and why you are the one to write the piece. Don't worry if you don't have much writing experience - if you're a naturally gifted writer, that will speak for itself. AND, any published piece is one you can add to your portfolio of publishing writing work.
- Work on writing the pieces. I like sending queries out first, to find out which article ideas make sense to work on. If an editor is interested, I go ahead and write the piece. Others may argue this fact -- but I like to know that I'll have an assignment before I waste any time writing. You may work differently, and like to have at least part of an article written before sending out queries.
- Land an assignment! Your first paid assignment will be a cause for celebration! Don't worry if it doesn't pay much, but make sure it pays enough to make it worth your time and expertise. (Yes, you do have expertise! You just need to believe it...) Even if it pays $5 or $10, it's your first published piece, and you should be very proud.
- Complete the article on time. Editors love writers who respect a deadline. Create a good first (and lasting) impression by getting your article or written work in on deadline. If for any reason you can't have it completed by deadline, then contact the editor and explain why before you miss the deadline.
- Celebrate your first published article! When you get the "A-OK" from the editor, you'll have that familiar writerly sigh of relief. Getting the paycheck is just as nice. :)
Now, get out there and write!
The Almost Wealthy Writer
Copywriting is basically writing words to promote something, so in a sense you're writing words to market something or someone. Copywriters find work in all sorts of incredible ways, and since corporations or businesspeople often need copy quickly, copywriting can be an amazingly fast and legitimate way to make money.
The first way to make money copywriting is to take a phone book (do those still exist? Why yes, they do!), especially the yellow pages, and start contacting local businesses. Develop a professional query letter outlining the sorts of copywriting you're willing to do for them. The types of products businesses need include, but certainly aren't limited to:
- Newsletters, either old-school or online
- Blog posts
- Updates to websites
- Fresh website content
- Catalogue descriptions
- Flyer information and product descriptions
- Email marketing materials (or fax marketing materials)
Basically any type of written material that a business or corporation needs to use to conduct business needs to be written at some point by a copywriter! Some small businesses will obviously do their own copywriting, but taking out a phone book or using an online directory of local businesses will provide you with plenty of opportunities to send an email query (or, to grab more attention you might want to send out actual letters in the mail) to inquire about writing for that company.
You might be surprised by how quickly this can net you fresh writing work.
If you've never written copy before...
Don't stress! The thing that matters most in copywriting is that you can write words that make people want to take action: to sign up for a newsletter, or to purchase a new car, or to regularly visit a website. Take note of websites and copywritten materials (either received in your email inbox or as 'junk mail' in your real mailbox) and start noting what you like and don't like about what those copywriters have written. You can train yourself to become a copywriter - no expense necessary!
If, on the other hand, you'd like to arm yourself with some How To books from pros who know, then check out these beauties from Amazon on all the ins and outs of copywriting:
The Copywriter's Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells
The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era (Advertising Age)
"But, what should I write a blog about?" You might wonder. It's a good question, since blogs number in the millions, and if you want your blog to stand out you need it to be unique enough for people to want to come back over and over again to read its content.
Start by writing a list of all the things you love: hobbies, jobs (dream jobs you wish you had, or your current job - which is also your expertise), etc. Then, try to come up with unique ideas that could become a new blog.
Some write a number of blogs - I do this myself, on a number of different topics. But, start with one or two blogs on topics or issues that are near and dear to your heart, and then monetize your blog in one or more of these ways:
How to Monetize Your Blog
- Google Adsense is a quick and easy way to get started. The ads correspond with the content you write, so if for instance you write about tips on selling your home quickly, your Google Adsense ads might come up with ads pertaining to local real estate, home staging, books about selling real estate, etc. You earn a small amount for each click. You might want to research what types of content earn the most income, if the main goal of your blog is income generation.
- Advertising - Link ads or small cube or banner ads on your blog itself can be rented out to sponsors by the day, week, month or year. It will usually take a while for your blog to earn this kind of advertising, by being one that readers return to over and over again to read. In other words, a good, consistently written blog with regular readership are the ones that can charge for ad space successfully.
- Amazon has an affiliate program which allows you to place links or ads on certain products or even categories of products. Each time someone purchases something on Amazon after having been taking to the Amazon site through your original link, you earn a percentage on sales. It's very easy, and you can either take cash payments or else a gift card from Amazon.
- Sell your own ebooks - at www.happyslob.com I set up sales for my original ebook called The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning. You can sell your own ebooks too, and contrary to popular belief it often pays more to sell your own electronic books instead of going the traditional publishing route. (I know this from firsthand experience - you make far more per book selling ebooks than regular bookstore books. But, I digress -- having a book on a bookstore shelf can sure make you excited!)
- Paypal donations - this is a tricky one. Some bloggers have great success with a Paypal donation button strategically placed on their blogs; others veer away from this option. It all depends on what type of blog you choose to write. You can always try popping up a Paypal button and see if your readership agrees that your content is worth an occasional donation of their hard earned money.
These are five ways to get you started with monetizing your blog, but there are dozens of other ideas too, which we'll discuss in an upcoming blog post.
And now...go get writing!
The Almost Wealthy Writer